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Theosophical Siftings

Cremation

Vol 3, No 12

Cremation
Considered From the Point of View of the Religions of the East by Franz Hartmann, M.D.
An Address delivered March 1st, 289 , in the hall of the !Scientific Cl"#$ at Vienna, on the occasion of the %earl% assem#l% of the Societ% of the &riends of Cremation, !The &lame,$ #% &ran' (artmann, M)*) The Theosophical +"#lishing Societ%, ,ngland

-A*.,S AN* /,NT-,M,N, 0 .n than1ing %o" most heartil% for the opport"nit% offered me of addressing %o" on the religio"s vie2s 2hich form the #asis of cremation in .ndia, . m"st #eg of %o" to permit me to preface the same #% a fe2 personal remar1s) .t happens that the s"#3ects on 2hich . p"rpose addressing %o" m"st appear to most of %o" 4"ite ne2 and strange, #eca"se the% refer to facts on 2hich ver% little light has #een thro2n as %et in ,"rope) The% refer to m%steries of religions 2hich the 5"ddhists and 5rahmins do not ver% 2illingl% s"rrender to p"#licit%, and 2hich, also, are some2hat diffic"lt to "nderstand #% the "ninitiated) Nevertheless, . shall endeavo"r to el"cidate m% s"#3ect as clearl% as is possi#le in a short address) . 2o"ld f"rther #eg of %o" not to thin1 that . intend propagating a ne2 religion) . merel% give the res"lts of m% o2n o#servation, and each one is at li#ert% to thin1 2hat he li1es a#o"t it) There ma% #e possi#l% some among %o" 2ho thin1 that the religio"s vie2s of the (ind"s are #ased onl% on s"perstition) 6thers, again, ma% have come to the concl"sion that these vie2s are fo"nded on the deeper penetration of .ndian methods into the secrets of Nat"re) . do not "nderta1e to give an% 3"dgment in this matter) . leave to ever% one perfect freedom to #elieve 2hat he thin1s right) The fo"ndations on 2hich the religions of the ,ast are #ased are still ver% little 1no2n to o"r 6rientalists and philologists) These investigators are, as a r"le, occ"pied 2ith researches into the origin of certain 2ords, or 2ith historical events and other e7traneo"s matters, #"t certainl% not 2ith [Page ! in4"iries respecting ,ternal Tr"th, 2hich is onl% approacha#le #% spirit"al perception) 6ne ma% have spent one8s 2hole life in .ndia 2itho"t #ecoming ac4"ainted 2ith its religio"s m%steries, 3"st as one ma% #e for long %ears a diligent ch"rch9goer 2itho"t ac4"iring a 1no2ledge of the tr"e nat"re of Christianit%) And . also sho"ld not have #een a#le to tell %o" an%thing a#o"t these things had . not 3oined an association 2hich incl"des man% 5rahmins, 5"ddhists, and others, 2ho ena#led me to #ecome #etter ac4"ainted 2ith the nat"re of these religions, not onl% on the s"rface, #"t also 2ith the tr"th 2hich forms their #asis) :ith regard to Cremation, . m"st confess that . have hitherto felt an interest in it onl% so far as its sanitar% aspect m"st attract the attention of a medical man) .t is as m"ch a matter of indifference to me 2hether m% #od% is to #e #"rned or #"ried after death as 2hat 2ill happen to m% cast9off coat) . have also never considered 2hether . o"ght to #e #"rned or #"ried, and if an% s"ch e7pression 2ere "sed it 2o"ld #e incorrect and a 2rong mode of spea1ing, #eca"se that 2hich is the real man can neither #e #"rned or #"ried) That 2hich is interred is onl% the earthl% #od%, and one ought not to identify oneself with that even +age 1

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in idea) 6"r children 2ho still feel and thin1 nat"rall%, 2hose nat"re is not %et spoiled #% sophistr%, spea1 more correctl%) The% sa%, e.g), ; Mamma, Charles is h"ngr%;, or ; +apa, Mar% 2ants to go to sleep,; instead of ; . am h"ngr%;, etc) .n doing so the% are right, #eca"se the tr"e ; . ; of man, 2hich <alas => #"t fe2 of "s 1no2, is not h"ngr%, nor does he 2ant to go to sleep, #"t he is rather a god raised high a#ove ever%thing that is perisha#le or transitor%) The sages of the ,ast "se the same mode of spea1ing as o"r children) The% sa%, e.g), ; M% nat"re 2ants this or that? m% #od% feels? m% mind thin1s;, etc) The m%sterio"s ;.; al2a%s remains hidden in the #ac1gro"nd) .f 2e investigate more precisel% 2hat man reall% is, 2e shall find he is made "p of man% ; .8s;, i.e), of man% forms of conscio"sness, 2hich are contin"all% changing, and that he is al2a%s that ; .,; i.e), that form of conscio"sness 2ith 2hich he at the time identifies himself) :e shall ret"rn later on to these different ; .8s ; or forms of conscio"sness, 2hich, to spea1 2ith /oethe, ma1e "p ; that little 2orld 2hich thin1s itself the 2hole;, 2hen 2e consider the real constit"tion of man, according to the .ndian doctrine? 2e shall then find that that ; . ; of man 2hich is perisha#le #% fire, ma% stand even after death in a certain connection 2ith that ; . ; 2hich is imperisha#le) To spea1 first of m% o2n e7perience, . m"st sa% that, altho"gh . have never paid m"ch attention to modes of interment, . have, 2hile on m% travels, had fre4"ent opport"nities of o#serving them) &or instance, nearl% thirt% %ears ago . 2ent as ship8s doctor to America, lived in different parts [Page "! of the @nited States and Me7ico? then travelled thro"gh California, Aapan, China, and .ndia, and 2itnessed in these co"ntries, as 2ell as in Ce%lon, on man% occasions, the ceremon% of #"r%ing the dead) As 2ell as . remem#er, one of the first #odies cremated in America 2as that of the 5aron de +alm, 2hich Colonel 6lcott had p"#licl% #"rned, after 1eeping it concealed for a 2hole %ear in his cellar in a #arrel of chloride of lime) .t is noticea#le that in America, altho"gh a free co"ntr%, and not s"#3ect to g"ardianship #% /overnment, reforms are not easil% ina"g"rated) There is there, the same as here, a p"#lic opinion 2hich is led #% men of letters, clerg%men and others, and, as else2here, the gro"nd m"st first #e prepared #efore a ne2 seed or a ne2 idea can ta1e root and #e developed) There, as here, a strong opposition 2as raised) +art of the clerg% maintained that cremation 2as not permissi#le, as it prevented the res"rrection of the #od% at the last 3"dgment? others again, more enlightened Theologians, contradicted this #% e7plaining that this res"rrection m"st ta1e place in a living #od%, not in a deca%ed one, and that 2hat is meant #% this is the spirit"al interpenetration of the 2hole living #od% #% the so"l, ill"mined #% the *ivine -ight) To this m"st #e added that in America there is no State Ch"rch protected #% the /overnment, #"t instead there are a#o"t 3B sects, 2ho all differ in opinion and are in m"t"al conflict) The Ch"rch 2as therefore "na#le to s"pport its prohi#ition #% force) The la2%ers and doctors maintained, as the% do here, that in cases of death #% poison, Cremation 2o"ld render s"#se4"ent in4"ir% impossi#le as proof of a possi#le crime) 6n the other hand, it 2as 2ell said it 2ere #etter that once in a 2a% a death #% poison sho"ld remain "nproved than that h"ndreds of tho"sands of h"man #eings sho"ld lose their lives #% an atmosphere made deadl% #% corpses, or #% drin1ing 2ater poisoned #% graves) .t co"ld #e as readil% o#3ected that the #od% of a man 2ho had died at sea sho"ld not #e entr"sted to the 2aves, #"t that it sho"ld remain and infect the 2hole ship, in order that hereafter the possi#ilit% sho"ld not #e interfered 2ith of proving that the patient died in accordance 2ith nat"ral ca"ses) This vie2 fo"nd its s"pport in the fact that the poisoning of to2ns #% ch"rch%ards in America 2as a not infre4"ent occ"rrence) .t often happens, on acco"nt of the 4"ic1 gro2th of American to2ns, a cemeter% +age 2

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2hich has #een laid o"t at some distance, 2ithin a fe2 %ears comes to #e sit"ated in the central part of the to2n) So, for e7ample, in Ne2 6rleans, in -o"isiana, there are several large cemeteries in the centre of the to2n) As 2ater is fo"nd there 2ithin t2o feet of the s"rface, the #odies are not interred there, #"t entom#ed a#ove the s"rface, 2here the% poison the atmosphere instead of the 2ater) :e see #% this that 2e sho"ld p"rchase, #% the prohi#ition of Cremation, a ver% small advantage at the price [Page #! of a ver% great disadvantage) 5"t that the poisoning of the air and of drin1ing92ater #% the interment of the dead is no pict"re of the imagination, 2e find ampl% proved in the ,ast) :hen %o" come to Madras or an% other to2n in .ndia 2here there are man% Mahommedans, 2ho, as is 2ell 1no2n, #"r% their dead, %o" find that s"ch a to2n consists, so to spea1, of ho"ses and cemeteries) (ere a ho"se, there graves? then again a fe2 ho"ses, then more graves, 3"st #eca"se the graves of Mahommedans are al2a%s d"g in the nearest possi#le vicinit% to the ho"ses) Scattered #et2een them are 2ells? and %o" can easil% #elieve that the 2ater from these is of s"ch a non9vegetarian character that it is impossi#le to drin1 it "nless filtered thro"gh charcoal) 5"t the poor have no filters, so there are o"t#rea1s of cholera and other diseases, 2hich then spread over ,"rope) . had the hono"r of #ecoming ac4"ainted, in the co"rse of a 3o"rne% from Ce%lon to Madras, 2ith *r) Coch, 2ho discovered that cholera is ca"sed #% a #acill"s) .f the same pains had #een ta1en to discover and prevent the general causes which permit the bacillus to originate, it would perhaps have been less useful to science, but far more useful to humanity. Cremation is "niversal 2ith the (ind"s, and in ever% to2n are to #e fo"nd special places for that p"rpose) As one meets here in o"r streets hearses, so one meets there carriers, 2ho are #earing on a litter the dead #od% "nveiled to the cremation place) 6n arriving there it is laid on a p%re, melted #"tter <ghee> po"red over it, and then #"rned amid certain ceremonials) Amongst the rich the p%re consists of sandal and other aromatic 2oods, the ceremonial is magnificent, and the 2hole proceeding is ver% costl%) Amongst the poor little tro"#le is ta1en, and s"ch a Cremation costs onl% a#o"t t2o r"pees) .n 5"rmah each #od% is placed separatel% in an old flo"r #arrel, covered 2ith stra2 and s"ch li1e material, and is then #"rned) .n addition to these vario"s modes of disposing of the dead, . 2ill descri#e that of the +arsees) These allo2 the #od% to #e ta1en #% #irds or dogs) :hen %o" go to 5om#a% %o" m"st not neglect to visit the ;To2ers of Silence;) These are the cemeteries of the +arsees) A great to2er9li1e #"ilding is provided 2ith a roof 2hich slopes in2ards to2ards the centre of the to2er, 2here there is a deep pit) The #odies are laid "pon the roof, and immediatel% a s2arm of carrion v"lt"res, 2hich are constantl% on the 2atch for the arrival of a corpse, s2oop do2n "pon it, and devo"r it 2ithin a ver% fe2 min"tes) The 2ell9pic1ed #ones then roll do2n the roof and fall into this deep pit) The idea 2hich "nderlies this mode of interment is that o"r Mother 0 the element earth 0 sho"ld #e sacred to "s, and that 2e sho"ld not desecrate her 2ith an%thing that is dead) 5esides this, #% this mode of interment the component particles [Page $! 2hich form the h"man #od% are 4"ic1l% incorporated in other living organisms) 5esides Cremation, there o#tained in .ndia not long ago the rite of s"ttee, i.e., the #"rning of the living 2ido2s together 2ith the corpse of the h"s#and, a c"stom 2hich has no2 ceased #% the intervention of the ,nglish) The religio"s idea 2hich 2as the fo"ndation of this #"rning of 2ido2s originated in the fact that it is said in the .ndian Sacred Script"res, if h"s#and and 2ife are "nited in fire, one h"ndred +age 3

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tho"sand %ears in S2arga <a state of the highest #liss> shall #e the res"lt) This sentence in the Vedas 2as ta1en 4"ite literall%, and prod"ced as its effect this #"rning of 2ido2s) 5"t in realit% it has 4"ite a different and m"ch deeper meaning, namel%, if 2e "nderstand ;h"s#and; as the male principle, the thought, and ;2ife; as the female principle, the will, there is prod"ced #% the "nion of #oth in the fire of love, that spiritual perception the nat"ral effect of 2hich is a state of high and end"ring #liss) .t is this that is meant #% the .ndian Sacred Script"res, 2hich, li1e o"r 5i#le, spea1 in allegories) This secret interpretation 2as "n1no2n to the ordinar% priests as 2ell as to the la%men, 2ho 2ere incapa#le of s"ch high comprehension) As 2ith "s a merel% dead letter and s"perficial interpretation of certain #i#lical passages led to the .n4"isition and the #"rning of 2itches, so also in .ndia a false interpretation of the Vedas led to vario"s a#"ses) Amongst these the #est 1no2n is perhaps the formerl% "niversal evil c"stom of Aaggernath, namel%, on certain da%s a colossal car, 2ith monstro"s 2heels, 2as dra2n thro"gh the streets #% elephants) The pop"lace cro2ded ro"nd to see a s"pposed d2arf <Aaggernath> contained in the car) *"ring this man% 2ere cro2ded "nder the 2heels and lost their lives, thro"gh 2hich the% 2ere s"pposed to ac4"ire eternal #liss) Then, at last, it #ecame the c"stom that the most #elieving ones thre2 themselves "nder the 2heels, and, li1e so man% Christian saints, so"ght vol"ntaril% the mart%r8s death) That 2hich lies at the fo"ndation of this religio"s a#erration is as follo2sD 0 5% the car of Aaggernath is to #e "nderstood the h"man constit"tion, in the innermost depths of 2hich the *ivine Spirit d2ells in secret) :hoever recognises this *ivine Spirit in himself there#% ac4"ires the *ivine Self9conscio"sness and Conscio"s .mmortalit%) &or this p"rpose of co"rse it is "seless to allo2 himself to #e cr"shed #% an elephant car, 3"st as a Christian mart%r does not #ecome either more intelligent or more reasona#le for #eing fla%ed alive) .t 2o"ld #e eas% for me to cite other and varied instances of this 1ind to sho2 2hat an amo"nt of evil a false interpretation of Sacred Script"res can prod"ce) (ere in ,"rope it is c"stomar% for "s to la"gh at this 1ind of thing, and %et 2e need not go far to find similar instances) [Page %! Also 2ith "s the 5i#le is interpreted s"perficiall%, and falsel% e7po"nded #% #oth learned and lait%, and the tr"e meaning is not grasped) No2ada%s there are pro#a#l% onl% a fe2 2ho #elieve that Adam and ,ve in +aradise stole ordinar% apples, s"ch as are to #e #o"ght here in the fr"it mar1et) .t is ass"med that this allegor% represents ho2 primeval man, 2ho 2as a high and divine #eing, pl"c1ed the fr"it from the tree of the 1no2ledge of good and evil #% #eginning to thin1 and 2ill for himself, and there#% losing his p"rel% spirit"al perception) .t 2as strongl% o#3ected to me #% learned 5rahmins that there are still man% more passages in the 5i#le 2hich are 2rongl% read #% "s) &or e7ample it sa%s, ;:hosoever 2o"ld follo2 me m"st leave father and mother and all things;) No2 the 5rahmins sa% that this means that 2e m"st leave o"r o2n pre3"dices and opinions, 2hich in a certain sense are o"r o2n spirit"al parents, and also all sinf"l inclinations, if 2e 2o"ld arrive at the 1no2ledge of ,ternal Tr"th) Nevertheless there have #een cases 2here persons have r"n a2a% from their earthl% parents to enter a cloister, and e7pected that /od 2o"ld re2ard them for it) .t sa%s, for e7ample, that a camel can sooner pass thro"gh the e%e of a needle than a rich man enter into heaven) The 5rahmins sa% that that means that he 2ho is rich in opinions and ill"sions of his o2n, to 2hich his heart clings, cannot reach that state of contentment and #lessedness 2hich is the res"lt of the tr"e 1no2ledge of /od in his o2n heart) 5"t there have #een persons <tho"gh the% have #ecome rarer no2 in conse4"ence of 2idespread dis#elief> 2ho read the passage s"perficiall%, and 2ho gave their +age E

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possessions to the Ch"rch 2itho"t reflecting that if this s"perficial reading 2ere the correct one, the rich Ch"rch 2o"ld #e the ver% last that co"ld enter into heaven) A case is 1no2n to me in 2hich a man in .llinois attempted to imitate the e7ample of A#raham8s readiness to sacrifice his son, #eca"se he #elieved that /od also in this case 2o"ld intervene at the last moment) (ad this man first cons"lted the 5rahmins, the% 2o"ld have told him that #% A#raham m"st #e "nderstood the "niversal man, and #% .saac, the self92ill, and that 2hen A#raham is prepared to resign his o2n 2ill completel% to the 2ill of /od, then /od still permitted him to retain his o2n 2ill, 2hich #% this sacrifice had #ecome of a divine nat"re) 5"t the man referred to a#ove too1 the passage literall%, and as no *ivine 5eing appeared to stop his hand, he act"all% did sla% his son, for 2hich he soon fo"nd himself, not in prison, #"t in a l"natic as%l"m) :e 2ill not p"rs"e these comparisons an% farther) 5"t . 2o"ld still li1e to mention that the #"rning alive of 2ido2s 2as not carried o"t #% force as fre4"entl% #elieved, and that the 2ido2 2as not cast into the fire against her 2ill, The% s"#mitted vol"ntaril% to #e #"rned, and even [Page &! no2, altho"gh it has #een a#rogated, man% 2ives still #ecome victims to s"icide at the death of their h"s#ands, not from grief, #"t from religio"s conviction) To this sho"ld #e added that a 2ido2 is e7posed to the contempt of the ra##le, #eca"se (ind"s and 5"ddhists are all adherents to the doctrines of Fe9incarnation and Carma) .n other 2ords, the% #elieve that the personalit% of man is onl% a transitor% phenomenon, and that sooner or later after death the spirit"al force 2hich d2ells 2ithin him 2ill again call into #eing another personalit% <i.e), 2ill re9incarnate>, the life of 2hich 2ill have a certain connection 2ith the previo"s personalit%) The% #elieve, f"rther, that ever%thing is s"#3ect to the Carmic la2 of *ivine A"stice, so that 2hen the first personalit% has led a vicio"s life, the second personalit%, possessing a spirit"al individ"alit% identical 2ith the first, has to s"ffer for it) The doctrine of Fe9incarnation or Fe9em#odiment of the spirit in h"man #odies, and the doctrine of Carma or *ivine A"stice, of the tr"th of 2hich a#o"t E millions of d2ellers on this earth are convinced, are too elevated to #e f"ll% represented in a short address) To spea1 #riefl%, the% are #ased on the idea that the character of a thing is the essential, and the form in 2hich it presents itself to "s is onl% an appearance) .t is this disting"ishing of the tr"e essence from its o"t2ard appearance 2hich differentiates the scientific and religio"s s%stems of the sages of the ,ast from those of the :est) According to certain vie2s of the :est, man is a developed ape) According to the vie2s of the .ndian sages, 2hich also coincide 2ith those of the philosophers of past ages and 2ith the teachings of the Christian m%stics, man is a god, 2ho is "nited d"ring his earthl% life, thro"gh his o2n carnal tendencies, to an animal <his animal nat"re>) The /od 2ho d2ells 2ithin him endo2s man 2ith 2isdom) The animal endo2s him 2ith force) After death the god effects his own release from the man #% departing from the animal #od%) As man carries 2ithin him this divine conscio"sness, it is his tas1 to #attle 2ith his animal inclinations, and to raise himself a#ove them, #% the help of the divine principle, a tas1 2hich the animal cannot achieve, and 2hich therefore is not demanded of it) :hen . spea1 of the ;religions of the ,ast;, . mean #% that the #road fo"ndations on 2hich all those religions rest, altho"gh there ma% #e in different s%stems vario"s deviations) :e are not concerned 2ith investigating ho2 far the separate religio"s sects of the ,ast differ from one another) :hen 2e 1no2 the #asis 2hich is common to them all, 2e have, as it 2ere, a #ird8s9e%e vie2 of the 2hole, and 2e shall then perceive that Christianit% also rests on the same fo"ndation, #eca"se there e7ists onl% one sole "niversal and ,ternal Tr"th, and 2hatever is tr"e in an% religion has its root in this) [Page '! +age G

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The 2ord ;Feligion; is derived from ;religere;, and represents the perception of the relation #orne #% man to his spirit"al origin? in other 2ords, religion is the 1no2ledge of the tr"e nat"re of man and his position in the "niverse) To st"d% this 1ind of religion it is necessar% to free o"rselves from all c"stomar% conceptions of that 2hich is called ;matter; and to conceive the 2hole 2orld as merel% a mode of manip"lation, compara#le to a pict"re that is prod"ced on a 2all #% a magic lantern, and 2hich disappears again as soon as the light in the lantern is e7ting"ished) :e can loo1 "pon the 2orld if 2e choose, 2ith Schopenha"er, 2ho has grasped the .ndian doctrine, as a prod"ct of 2ill and representation, or, #etter still, 2ith Aaco# 5oehme, as the emanation of the *ivine @niversal :ill, the effect of 2hich is Fepresentation) :e can also e7press this in other 2ords, as 2hen 2e sa%, Brahm </od> is All in All) As the pict"res of a magic lantern e7ist #% means of its light, so do the material things of 2hich this 2orld of appearances consists originate from the *ivine force 2hich d2ells 2ithin them) Man also is incl"ded in these forms of appearance) According to the .ndian doctrine the visi#le #od% of man is #"t a ver% small part of the real #eing of man, 2hich is invisi#le to the o"ter senses, and ma% #e compared to a ne#"la in the heavens, 2hich e7tends over millions of miles, #"t of 2hich onl% the innermost shining spot is clearl% discerni#le) .n accordance 2ith these vie2s the 2orld is a "niversal conscio"sness, that e7presses itself in the most diverse 2a%s in minerals, plants, animals, men, gods, and other #eings, and 2hich prod"ces forms corresponding to the character of these #eings) Man also is s"ch a form of conscio"sness) .n his tho"ghts and feelings a contin"al change of forms of conscio"sness ta1es place, a constant s2a%ing to and fro #et2een the higher and the lo2er) At one time the e7panse of his emotional nat"re is agitated #% passions, 2hich again is s"cceeded #% a period of rest) These forms of conscio"sness prod"ce the vario"s ; .8s; of man, of 2hich . spo1e at the commencement) &or man is that 2hich he feels and thin1s, and 2ith his feelings and tho"ghts changes also his form of conscio"sness, his o"t2ard ;.); 6ne can, therefore, #ecome also, 2itho"t re9incarnation, ;4"ite a different person;) 6nl% the tr"e, the divine ;.;, of 2hich most men 1no2 nothing, is immortal and eternal) (ind"s and 5"ddhists, and also the Christian M%stics, divide these forms of conscio"sness 2hich constit"te man into different gro"ps, 2hich . 2ill here refer to c"rsoril%, #eca"se, as %o" 2ill see, Cremation stands in a certain relation to them) . regret that, as m% time is limited, . can onl% conve% to %o" the general f"ndamental la2s of these divisions) The highest form of conscio"sness is the *ivine Atma, or that 2hich [Page (! 2e 1no2 as /od or Christ in man, a form of conscio"sness 2hich onl% those possess in 2hom the divine life has #een a2a1ened 0 those, in other 2ords, 2ho are true Christians, even tho"gh the% adhere in their o"t2ard opinions to the (ind"s, Ae2ish, Mahommedan, or other s%stem, or to no s%stem at all) Ho" 2ill all easil% conceive that the *ivine Spirit or Atma cannot reveal itself in its perfection in an animal so"l) The higher spirit"al perception in 2hich the divine in man <Aes"s in man> reveals itself is called #% the 5"ddhists ;Buddhi;) .t is also ta"ght in Christian doctrine, that no one can go to the &ather e7cept thro"gh the Son? this means <the (ind"s maintain> that man m"st first have come to divine conscio"sness <to Christ> #efore he can conceive the *eit% in his tr"e grande"r)

+age B

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Cremation

Vol 3, No 12

6pposed to this spirit"al so"l of man is an animal conscio"sness, or ;Kama-rupa; <the form prod"ced #% the desire for earthl% e7istence>, in 2hich the passions and sens"al inclinations reside, and 2hich ever% man feels 2ithin himself, altho"gh the dissecting 1nife has not as %et demonstrated this scientificall%) 5et2een ;Atma-Buddhi; and ;Kama-rupa; comes the proper h"man conscio"sness called #% the 5"ddhists ;Manas;) .t is that called ;Mind; in ,nglish, and in /erman <incorrectl%> the h"man so"l) This is the seat of tr"e h"man tho"ght and 2ill, and of the intellect"al fac"lties 2hich are contained in it, li1e the seed grain in a field) .t is the ;Manas;, #"t not the *ivine Spirit, 2hich is constantl% infl"enced #% the higher and lo2er, and in reference to 2hich /oethe sa%s in &a"stD 0 ; *" #ist dir n"r des einen Trie#s #e2"sst? 6 lerne nie den andern <den niedern> 1ennen) Iivei Seden 2ohnen, ach = in meiner 5r"st, *ie eine 2ill sich von der andern trennen? *ie eine halt in der#er -ie#esl"st Sich an die :elt, mit 1lammernden 6rganen, *ie and8re he#t ge2altsam sich vom *"st I" den /efilden hoher Ahnen); The lo2est form of conscio"sness is the animal #od%) As, according to (ind" doctrine, ever%thing in the 2orld is the e7pression of the @niversal :ill, and as a partic"lar conscio"sness resides in ever% 1ind of 2ill, so the #od% of man can also #e nothing else than a certain form of conscio"sness? #"t that it has a conscio"sness of its o2n, and differing from that of Manas, is sho2n #% the refle7 movements, e.g in epileps%, 2here the mind loses its control over the m"scles) This #od% of man, 2hich is the o"t2ard e7pression of the inner man and the o#3ect of o"r anthropolog%, is the onl% part of the grand constit"tion of Man that is [Page )*! accessi#le to e7act scientific investigation, for as e7act <i.e), o"t2ard> science can onl% ma1e "se of o"t2ard means, so it can also onl% occ"p% itself 2ith o"t2ard things, percepti#le #% the senses) &or a deeper 1no2ledge, an a2a1ening of the inner spirit"al senses 2o"ld #e re4"ired, i.e), a higher spirit"al development) .t is this e7terior animal #od% 2hich is #"rnt, d"ring Cremation, after it has lost #% death its conscio"sness and sensation, and 2hich sho"ld #e destro%ed as soon as possi#le, so that it sho"ld not #e a ca"se of danger to the living thro"gh chemical decomposition) 5"t #et2een the ph%sical #od%, 2hich is the seat of the principle of life, and the intellect"al principle of man <the Manas>, there is another thing, vi'), ;The astral #od%;, descri#ed #% Theophrast"s +aracels"s, Corneli"s Agrippa, and man% other m%stics, and 2hich is called #% the (ind"s ;-inga Sarira;) This astral is a ver% pec"liar thing, and has ver% e7traordinar% 4"alities) .t is the e7act co"nterpart of the e7terior #od%, and its conscio"sness can reveal itself independentl% of that of the o"t2ard #od%) .t is 1no2n to some of "s as the ;*o"#le;, and it is the m%sterio"s ca"se, as %et "ne7plained #% science, of inn"mera#le visions of ghosts and m%stical e7periences) .n a health% man this astral #od% is closel% and insepara#l% "nited to the e7terior #od%) *"ring man% forms of illness and other a#normal states its connection 2ith the o"t2ard #od% ma%, ho2ever, #ecome loosened, and s"ch persons then #elieve that the% see their o2n spirit, or #ecome medi"ms, so called) .t is not at all rare that d"ring severe illness a patient complains that #esides him there is another person in the #ed, #"t 2ho reall% is also himself) To spea1 #riefl%, a dividing of conscio"sness ta1es place here, 2hich reveals itself as t2o forms) +age J

Theosophical Siftings

Cremation

Vol 3, No 12

.t 2o"ld ta1e "s long #efore 2e co"ld concl"de, if 2e 2ished to more partic"larl% en"merate all the 4"alities 2hich are ascri#ed to these astral #odies #% the (ind"s) .t 2ill s"ffice to sa% for the p"rpose 2e have in vie2 toda% that this #od%, vie2ed from an o"ter standpoint, is a semi9material thing 2hich is intimatel% connected 2ith the e7terior #od%, and 2hich also does not separate from it after death, so long as a trace of the latter still remains) The (ind" teaches this 2hen the man dies, i.e), 2hen Atma95"ddhi9Manas departs from the #od%, he leaves #ehind t2o corpses, vi'), the 4"ite dead ph%sical? #od%, and the astral #od%, 2hich can #e, according to circ"mstances, 4"ite "nconscio"s, semi9conscio"s, or even f"ll% self9conscio"s) The astral #od% has namel%, li1e all the other principles 2hich form the constit"tion of man, its o2n form of conscio"sness, 2hich develops d"ring life, according to circ"mstances, in one direction or another) [Page ))! .n a man, e.g., 2ho, d"ring life, strives onl% for the no#le, the elevated and the spirit"al, the conscio"sness of the astral #od% <2hich comprises the merel% animal and non9intelligent principle> 2ill onl% #e slight) 6n the contrar%, in another, 2ho %ields himself "p 2holl% to the passions, hate, etc), this conscio"sness of the astral #od%, 2hich, so to spea1, #ecomes concentrated in him, can persist for a ver% long time, even 2hen the #od% is alread% decomposing) S"ch a man #ecomes after death <so sa% the .ndian sages> a ;5h"t;, i.e) a devil, or ghost) (e has then no reason #% 2hich he can e7ercise self9 control <as this #elongs to the higher principles, 2hich have alread% departed from him>, he acts according to his imp"lse and his nat"re) .t is not m% intention to dilate on man% marvello"s tales of vampires, etc), 2hich are laid to the charge of these /od9forsa1en Astral men? . 2ill onl% remar1 that the most terri#le thing a (ind" can represent to himself is, to #ecome after death a ; 5h"t; 6ne can, if one li1es, e7plain a2a% all these things as s"perstition) 5"t . have 1no2n persons 2ho 2ere ;clairvo%ant;, and 2ho maintained that the% sa2 in cemeteries floating forms of corpses #"ried there, and that this sight 2as so loathsome that, if ever%one had the gift of the inner sight, Cremation 2o"ld soon #ecome "niversal, as cemeteries 2o"ld not #e end"red an% longer) To li#erate this astral #od% from the corpse and to lead it to its dissol"tion into the elements of 2hich it is composed, is one of the aims of the (ind"s in Cremation) . have chanced to loo1 toda% into /oethe8s ;&a"st;, and the follo2ing lines #earing on the a#ove met m% e%eD 0 ;Man 1ann a"f gar nichts mehr vertra"ln? Sonst mit tern let'ten Athem'age f"hr sie a"g Tich passt ihr a"f, "nd 2ie die schnellste Ma"s, Schraps hielt ich sie in festverschlossnen Cla"en) N"n 'a"dert sie "nd 2ill den dKstern 6et, *es schlechten -eichnams e1les (a"s nicht lassen? *ie ,lemente, die sie hassen, *ie Fei#en sie am ,nde schmLhlich fort); .t is 3"st this that Cremation accomplishes? that 2hich decomposition onl% slo2l% #rings a#o"t, fire, as the most po2erf"l of all elements, achieves ver% 4"ic1l%)

+age 8

Theosophical Siftings

Cremation

Vol 3, No 12

,videntl% the ;so"l; of 2hich Mephistopheles spea1s refers to the astral #od% and to the animal element, ;Nephesch;, "nited to it, #eca"se the divine in man, ;F"ach;, cannot #e carried off #% the devil? onl% that 2hich is evil #ecomes the pre% of the evil principles) 5"t that the astral #od% is something material, #"t nevertheless pervades the 2hole ph%sical #od%, is nothing partic"larl% remar1a#le, #eca"se 2e are 2ell a2are that, [Page ) ! e.g), silver is also something ver% material, #"t nevertheless pervades, 2hen it is dissolved in "nion 2ith nitric acid in 2ater, the 2hole material li4"id li1e2ise) And as, #% the addition of a little ta#le salt, the silver again separates and #ecomes visi#le as chloride of silver, so also a Separation or manifestation of the astral #od% can ta1e place, "nder vario"s a#normal conditions, in the constit"tion of man) The greatest of all /erman philosophers, Aaco# 5oehme, from 2hose 2ritings most of o"r later philosophers have ta1en their ideas, compares the astral life to fire 0 the so"l is flame, the spirit is light) :ood is a visi#le #od%) No2 2hen light has disappeared 2ith the flame, the 2ood or the charcoal can still glo2 for a time, and li1e2ise the fire of passion or desire can, 2hen the spirit"al so"l has fled, still maintain for a moderate time the lo2er forms of 2ill in a sort of phantom life) .n concl"sion . #eg to o#serve that, according to (ind" doctrine, death is #"t a change of form) That 2hich is of a divine nat"re, i.e), immortal, separates from the imp"re and mortal, and each part contin"es its o2n development) That the 2hole man is not immortal is sho2n #% the simple vie2 of a corpse) 5"t if man has something immortal in him, and if there is something divine in man, then, as /od is immortal, the divine in man m"st also #e immortal) 5"t if man is not a2are of this divine in him, his immortalit% 2ill #e of as little "se to him as it 2o"ld #e to an%one to possess a million of mone% 2itho"t having an% 1no2ledge of the fact) 5"t 2hoever finds the divine in himself finds also 2ith it his o2n immortalit%, and 1no2s it, and does not re4"ire f"rther proof that he is reall% immortal) +roofs are onl% necessar% for that 2hich one does not perceive) That 2hich is perceived needs no other proof than it is 1no2n) :e are assem#led here in the (all of the ;Scientific Cl"#;, and a#ove me is inscri#ed ;Cno2ledge is +o2er;) This is perfectl% tr"e) Feal 1no2ledge gives po2er o"t2ardl% and in2ardl%) 5"t all is not real 1no2ledge that one is acc"stomed to regard as s"ch) M"ch that no2ada%s is loo1ed "pon as science is composed of opinions, 2hich in f"t"re 2ill give place to other opinions, as the% in their t"rn too1 the place of old opinions that 2ere previo"sl% loo1ed "pon as science) All that 2e have arrived at #% merel% logical concl"sion, #"t have not discerned #% o"r o2n act"al perception, . 2o"ld denote as simpl% negative 1no2ledge, 2itho"t on that acco"nt den%ing it a certain val"e) :hen . sa%, e.g), three times three are nine, and therefore si7 times si7 are e4"al to thirt%9si7, . mean #% that, that according to the reason given, and the r"les of arithmetic, si7 times si7 can #e nothing else than thirt%9si7) 5"t that does not #% an% means sa% that . 1no2 2hat thirt%9si7 reall% is, for to 1no2 this, . sho"ld have first to 1no2 2hat the n"m#er one is in its real nat"re) 5"t 2hen . p"t the 4"estion th"s, reason comes to a standstill, [Page )"! and can get no farther) .t is a 4"estion that can onl% #e ans2ered #% the inner feeling or int"ition) To learn to 1no2 this One, i.e), /od, is the highest science and art) :hen 2e have learnt to 1no2 the n"m#er one in "s, then 2e can also follo2 "p easil% all n"m#ers 2hich develop from it) .n this perception of the one consists the perception of /od in man, i.e), the self-consciousness of the truth in us) The p"rpose of life is to attain to this self9conscio"sness of tr"th? from death 2e e7pect no other gain than li#eration from false appearance) Cremation is the most elevated visi#le sign and s%m#ol of this +age 9

Theosophical Siftings

Cremation

Vol 3, No 12

emancipation? for as the "seless dead #od% is cons"med #% fire, and there#% ret"rns again to its mother Nat"re, so also does the selfishness of man perish in the fire of *ivine love, and in the flame of tr"e 1no2ledge the *ivine Spirit ret"rns to its primeval origin, the So"rce of -ight)

+age 1